Tuesday 31 January 2017

January Wrap Up

So we are at the end of the first month of the year! I have had an AMAZING reading month! I don't just mean that I've managed to read a lot, I've also read some amazing amazing books! I really feel like, in December, I set a goal for myself and I got my reading mojo back! This was then helped by the holiday BookTubeAThon kicking off the year followed by Bout of Books and then the 24 in 48 readathon, all of which I've posted about here and on my YouTube Channel (see links!)

So let get into the books I read in January. I actually had to start this post early so I wouldn't loose track of the books I read. I'll divide them into audiobooks, ebooks and actual books although quite a few of the audiobooks I listened to, I have the physical copies of as well!


Physical Books


I know I've read loads this month but I've loved every minute of it and can't wait to get to the books I want to read in February!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Picture Books 31/1/17

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I love picture books and I have shared picture books with children of all ages. I love seeing the way people react to books with more pictures than words and I have seen some excellent writing by 10 and 11 year old children based on some of these fab books!

Monday 30 January 2017

Review: Buffering by Hannah Hart

The wildly popular YouTube personality and author of the New York Times bestseller My Drunk Kitchen is back! This time, she’s stirring up memories and tales from her past.

By combing through the journals that Hannah has kept for much of her life, this collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she’s figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame.

Revealing what makes Hannah tick, this sometimes cringe-worthy, poignant collection of stories is sure to deliver plenty of Hannah’s wit and wisdom, and hopefully encourage you to try your hand at her patented brand of reckless optimism.

Personal note:

Hello, my darlings! I am incredibly pleased to present BUFFERING: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded!

As a big fan of memoirs, I wanted to try my hand at writing about the events of my life that deserve a little more consideration than can be accomplished in 140-characters or a 6-minute vlog. Now on the cusp of turning 30, I'm ready to expose some parts of my life that I haven't shared before. Before, it was all about privacy, process and time. And now the time has come! I’m ready to put myself out there, for you.  

I'm a little nervous about all these vulnerable words going into the world, these tales about my love life, the wrestling I’ve done with faith, how I feel about sex and my family and myself. I’ve had a lot of trials, a lot of errors, but also a lot of passion. Here’s the thing--I've always found comfort in the stories shared by others, so I hope my stories, now that I feel ready to tell them, will bring you some comfort too.

And when you read this book please remember: Buffering is just the time it takes to process.




Review: wow this book was so much more than I thought it was going to be. So I'm not a subscriber of Hannah Hart. I love some YouTube but I know other people who like her Drunk Kitchen show. I watched a couple of them, and since reading this book, I have subscribed to her channel but I wanted to read this book because of a recommendation from somebody else online. I am interested in the YouTube community, since I have a channel myself, and thought that this would provide some insight for me into one of its stars and hopefully the community along with it-I was wrong about this. 

This book certainly did give me insight into one of its stars but so much more of an insight than I was expecting, I guess that's why I loved it so much! This books covers so many issues and that's because these things all happened to this very special writer. The books doesn't labour on these issues though, it isn't going for the sympathy vote. They are dealt with in a matter of fact and also in some ways humorous manner and it is in spite of these issues that this creator is where they are today. I loved hearing tales of first houses and meeting new people, it really is a coming of age story but with that little bit extra. 

I also liked the pictures that were scattered throughout the book. Hannah has obviously been able to write about so many of the episodes within this book because she has some journals and other writing from throughout her early life and we get to see photos of these journals and their entries and I think that gives this book a much more authentic and genuine feel. This book does touch on the subject and YouTube and the other creators that Hannah mixes with regularly, but this really is the memoir of a creator and her struggle to get to the place that she is today. At no point did I feel that this book was asking me to feel sorry for the author, I enjoyed it for what it was and feel that I've got a lot more insight into this creator and the hard working 'YouTuber' that she is. 

To get your copy, just click here!

Saturday 28 January 2017

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up. Now a major motion picture starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman.

Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix-tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Review: Ok so this one had been on my TBR for a long time! I had wanted to read it and kept picking it up but putting in down and I really wanted to watch the firm so I chucked it on a readathon TBR and off I went. I have to say I was a little disappointed in this book. I don't think it has a lot of hype around it but I may have built it up a wee bit too much myself before reading it and I may revise my opinion of it when I finally do watch the film, but right now I'm feel a little left out in the cold by it. 

I really like the format that it took, Charlie writing letters to someone and telling them about his life and what is going on around him. I felt like he was speaking directly to me and so that is a deifnitely positive for the book, I'm looking forward to seeing how that is done in the film! But at points, because Charlie is the character that he is, I felt like he was whining at me...

Charlie is an interesting character, he clearly struggles with some mental health issues and anxiety and he sometimes seems aware of this, but not always. He is constantly seeking the approval of others and, like many teenagers, makes some bad choices in order to fit in with the crowd. The two friends that he makes are interesting people. but I can';t help but feel they are 'interesting' and 'quirky' just for the sake of it and not because that is actually who they are! Therefore I really struggled to bond with the characters in this novel, or have them make me feel any real emotion.

This is definitely a coming of age story and I managed to follow Charlie's journey of self discovery but it, again felt like some of the things happened to him just for the sake of them happening and not for any real purpose. At no point did I want to leave the book without finishing it, I wanted to find out what happened to Charlie in the end but I won't be recommending this book to anyone anytime soon. 

To read this and find out for yourself, just click here...

Friday 27 January 2017

Review: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air andPitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch PerfectUp in the AirTwilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

Review: I absolutely loved this memoir. I listened to it on audibook but made sure that I had the beautiful hardback on hand to be able to see any pictures that might be talked about. I really enjoyed the audiobook experience because hearing Anna talk about her own experiences in her own way really made the book come alive.

This book is written in chronological order on the most part and so you really get to build up a picture of this actress from her roots in ameteur theatre, to commercials, to broadway and eventually the star of films we know today. She isn't shy to give her take on things, her opinions on the showbiz world and I think it was her honesty that I liked most about this book.

I think that even if you haven't seen many of her film, or seen her on stage, then this book will be an interesting read. We, as readers, are given as insight into award shows, just how awkward it is for even famous teenagers growing up and just how exciting the pull of the stage is. I think this is a valuable memoir and I do hope that she produces another one as her career continue to progress. I would highly recommend listening to this one but also getting a copy of the hardback to keep and treasure because it really is a beautiful book!

Thursday 26 January 2017

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Author of Chasing Shadows TA Williams

I am very excited to be part of the blog tour of TA Williams's new novel Chasing Shadows.

Just click the link above to get your copy. Here's what it's all about:

Amy had it all – money, brains and beauty. And then the accident happened.

The Present Day: Left blind and without her family, Amy feels she needs to get away.

On a trip along the Camino, she is accompanied by the mysterious and troubled

Luke. Having been set up to help Amy by a mutual friend, Luke finds he is also

running from his past…

1314: A Templar Knight, Luc, is also running. He meets the wife of a former comrade,

now blinded in a terrifying attack: Aimee. Taking her under his wing, they must

journey together through a dangerous world.

As they travel through the stunning scenery of Northern Spain, this couple, so very

like Luke and Amy, emerge from the shadows of time carrying a treasure of

inestimable value.

I'm very lucky today because he has written a post about the experience that led him to writing the book exclusively for the blog today. Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the post to find out more about the book and the author. Thanks again to TA Williams for stopping by the blog today and don't forget to check out the rest of the stops on the tour in the banner above!

Ten years ago, I took early retirement from the job I had been doing for the past

thirty years, as principal of a big English language school. This was a pretty stressful

job and it was a great relief to hand over to somebody else. There were a number of

things I wanted to do, now that I was going to have more free time, and the first of

these was to cycle 2,000 kilometres.

Now, some people might think this a bit strange, crazy even, and indeed a number

of my friends did voice their concerns as to my sanity, but I knew it was something I

really wanted to do. Years ago, I got hooked on medieval history and the Pilgrims’

Way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain is one of the oldest pilgrimage routes in the

world and is a treasure chest of medieval buildings and medieval history.

Traditionally, people start from Saint-Jean- Pied-de- Port in southern France, near the

frontier with Spain, but I wanted to do it properly and that meant starting from here.

Here being my home near Exeter, in south west England.

I set off on the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff in Brittany, accompanied by a big

group of friends for the first few days and, unfortunately for them, it rained solidly the

whole time until day 4. In fact it rained so much I began to doubt whether I would

ever dry out or have the resolve to carry on. But I did, even though this meant

crossing the road bridge over the river Loire at Saint Nazaire with a force 8, gusting

force 9 side wind, one of the most seriously scary hours of my life.

The weather gradually improved as I rode down the west coast of France, shedding

companions and being joined by new companions along the way, until we reached the

Pyrenees and found ourselves on the main Pilgrims’ Way. The 1,000 metre climb

over the mountains was hard, but not as bad as I had feared, although I managed to

break a spoke just before the top. From there, we set off through Spain and soon

discovered that Spain is a seriously mountainous country. As we rode, we got fitter,

and that was just as well as the climbs multiplied. All the way along the route we

would come across magnificent chapels, churches, basilicas and cathedrals, some set

in the tiniest of villages. The pilgrimage has been popular since before the first

millennium and millions upon millions of pilgrims have made the journey and

hundreds of thousands still undertake it each year.

Nowadays, the route is well signposted and safe. Back in the Middle Ages, pilgrims

would have had to be on the look out for bears, wolves and bandits. The worst to

happen to us were a few punctures, a few minor accidents and a really annoying

headwind for some days. This finally changed to a tailwind as we approached Burgos

and I remember being almost blown into the city. Along the way we had some great

meals, drank a lot of very good wine, enjoyed some spectacular scenery and also shed

a good few pounds.

The last few days, riding through what is called “Green Spain”, we came to realise

why it gets its name. We had to cope with some downpours of biblical proportions

and the sensation when we finally reached the square in front of the cathedral in

Santiago was one of genuinely mixed feelings. On the one hand it was great to know I

had accomplished something but, at the same time, it was almost an anticlimax to

know that it was over. This major component on my bucket list was ticked off. I felt

genuinely sorry it was over, although my legs (and my bottom) were very, very glad.

It was while I was riding through Spain that the idea came to me to write a book. I

hope you enjoy reading about what flowed from my great adventure .

And here's all the other information you need!

My name is Trevor Williams. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams

because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, 'Dirty Minds' one of the

(female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too

much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my


My background, before taking up writing full time, was in teaching and I was

principal of a big English language school for many years. This involved me in

travelling all over the world and my love of foreign parts is easy to find in my books. I

speak a few languages and my Italian wife and I still speak Italian together.

I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying

myself hugely writing humour and romance. My most recent books are

the What happens… series. What happens in Tuscany reached #1 in the Amazon.uk

Romantic Comedy chart and What Happens on the Beach, the last in the series,

came out in July. Chasing Shadows is still romance, but with the added spice of a

liberal helping of medieval history, one of my pet hobbies. I do a lot of cycling and I

rode all the way to Santiago de Compostela on a bike a few years back. This provided

both the inspiration and the background research for Chasing Shadows.

I’m originally from Exeter, and I’ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little

village in sleepy Devon, tucked away down here in south west England. I love the


Website: http://www.tawilliamsbooks.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TAWilliamsbooks

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrevorWilliamsBooks

Information about the Book

Title: Chasing Shadows

Author: T. A. Williams

Release Date: 16 th January 2017

Genre: Romance

Publisher: Canelo

Format: Ebook

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33401178-chasing-


Wednesday 25 January 2017

Guest Review: The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond

It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember.

Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.

But as the following months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted - are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

Review: I was really looking forward to reading this book from Lucy Diamond, and indeed really enjoyed it, although it has taken me a while to write this review. I know that she has written a whole host of books, but this is the first one for me. It will definitely not be the last though. 

The story starts on New Year's Eve, at a party in the Suffolk village of Larkmead, hosted by Gemma and her husband, Spencer. It seems that Spencer has invited practically the whole village to the party - lucky that they have a nice large house. Included among the party goers are the other central characters of the story, Caitlin and Saffron. Caitlin is visiting the village following her mother's death to clear out the family home with a view to selling. Saffron, on the other hand, is escaping the madness of London and her PR job for a peaceful cottage holiday in the country to give her time to think about her future. The three women do not know each other, but come together over cocktails and fortune cookies and consider what they each wish for in the year ahead. 

I really took to each of these three women, all from different backgrounds and all with their own diverse problems, but who were brought together from a chance meeting at the party. Lucy Diamond leads us through their trials and tribulations over the year in a very skilful way and cleverly draws them together. They are all very strong, believable characters and extremely brave in their own ways. However, I did feel that the book could have had a few more pages; it all seemed to be wrapped up relatively suddenly. Maybe that was just because I was enjoying it so much that I didn't want it to end.  

I would definitely recommend this heart-warming story as an addition to anyone's to be read list. It does draw you in though, so be prepared  - once started, it is difficult to put down. 

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Blog Posts 24/1/17

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Since Sunday's blog post was my 1000th blog post (how did that creep up on me?) I thought I should do something to mark the occasion. I thought about doing my favourite blog posts but then I thought that since Blogger gives your stats, I would actually head to the dashboard and find out what my top ten viewed blog posts were and link them for you below. I think this is good use of a freebie week! For once, this top ten will be in order, we'll count them down...

10. Blog Tour: Christmas at the Cornish Cafe

9. My review of All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll

8. My Bout of Books 18 Sign Up Post

7. My Mum's Review of Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley

6. A Blog Tour Extract of Indiscretion by Hannah Fielding

5. My 1000 follower giveaway (now closed obviously!)

4. My post to let you know I was getting married!

3. My Mum's review of Christmas at the Cornish Cafe by Trisha Ashley

2. My Review of The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles

1. My Review of Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

This post was very interesting for me to do. I like the fact that there is such a variety of posts and I'm also pleased to see there are posts from more recent months as well as posts from closer to when I started blogging!

Thank you for sticking with me for 1000 posts (this post is now 1002!) here's to 1000 more!

Monday 23 January 2017

24 in 48 Readathon Wrap Up

I think it is safe to say that I really enjoyed my first 24 in 48 readathon. I always love a 24 hour readathon so this was like that but slightly less pressure. I didn't get as involved on social media as I thought I might and I didn't do any of the challenges but I got to read the things I wanted to read. Here is how the readathon looked for me:

Hour 1: No Reading
Hours 2-5 Reading
Hours 6-11: Sleeping
Hours 12-16 Reading

And then I lost track a bit, but its basically a mixture of reading and sleeping. I read in bed, on my sofa, in the bath and in the car on the way to Starbucks and whilst having some much-needed caffeine in Starbucks!

And here is what I read:

The final 220 pages

353 pages

231 pages

256 pages

49 pages

320 pages

Total pages read: 1430!